Deep and Wide Theology For East Malaysia (1): A Statement

One of the things that I like to do on the weekends after 5 full stretch days of classes is to just ride the train and search for a bookstore and just scour for hours browsing through books. This is what I would call a good day; my kind of sabbath if you will. But on the other side of browsing books I tend to spend more than I ought to sometimes. I think I struggle finding my way to the exit without buying something. Sometimes that is bad but what is a book junkie like me supposed to do? I simply wish that books would be cheaper for student like me. That would be my only complaint to a good day that is; coming back empty.

But for today that is, I got my hands on a good (pricey) book, “Subverting Global Myths” by Vinoth Ramachandra. I was tempted to buy two or three other titles but being a theological student, because there is no end to knowledge there is also no end in spending and reading books (on this part i am not complaining though!).

Walking out of the bookstore and getting on the train again, I was browsing my new purchase and was struck by the knowledge and grasp of the author. Someone who could write intelligibly about global issues as well as reflect biblically and theologically on them. I reckon this will be one book that I would have to read slowly.

But it really got me thinking that is.

It got me thinking about the condition of the churches in Sarawak (East Malaysia), specifically the denomination that I am part of. I really have to admit that nothing much is being done in terms of engagement in society as a whole. Nothing much is being done theologically also as well. It is a sad state that the church is in at the moment because everything is done surrounding the four walls of the building and just focused on personal development of the people.Because of that Christian influence is on the low and on the brink of falling off the edge.

I know my critiques might be hard to swallow by some but just take time to digest and reflect on the church’s present condition now. I have been born and bred in that place for 29 years and that might give me some small credibility to ‘speak out’. I do out of concern and also out of a sense of urgency. So what can be done on the onset? Some might ask if I have any constructive proposals to the critiques i’m giving. I will build my proposal on the statement below and plan to expand this into 3 (or 4) more posts which will be written later.

Here is the statement:

For the church to be effective, it needs a handle on good theology. And in order for theology to be effective it has to be deep (rigorously studied, wrestled, and confessed) and after that it has to go wide (rigorously reflected, applied, and proclaimed where life is lived).

Below is how further posts regarding the statement above is going to be expanded.

  1. Why theology?
  2. Theology Needs Depth
  3. Theology Must Not Be Caged

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